“No one has ever become poor by giving.”
I was thinking the other day that some of the most interesting and warmest folks I know I met while volunteering. The thing these people have in common is the joy they get out of helping others. They require no recognition from others for what they do for they get their rewards from the act of their kindness.
There is a glow that surrounds those who quietly care so much for others that they devote much of their time doing good work. These are not the complainers or angry naysayers that we see every day; these are the folks who don’t complain, they are too busy helping to solve problems to spend their time blaming others.
I have had the good fortune in my lifetime to meet many people in high places, most good people, but few as good as those I have met quietly serving in the trenches. It is in that spirit that I would like to share this story with you today.
Coffee On The Wall
I sat with my friend in a well-known coffee shop in a neighboring town of Venice, Italy, the city of lights and water. As we enjoyed our coffee, a man entered and sat at an empty table beside us. He called the waiter and placed his order saying, “Two cups of coffee, one of them there on the wall.”
We heard this order with rather interest and observed that he was served with one cup of coffee but he paid for two. When he left, the waiter put a piece of paper on the wall saying “A Cup of Coffee”.
While we were still there, two other men entered and ordered three cups of coffee, two on the table and one on the wall. They had two cups of coffee but paid for three and left. This time also, the waiter did the same; he put a piece of paper on the wall saying, “A Cup of Coffee”. It was something unique and perplexing for us. We finished our coffee, paid the bill and left.
After a few days, we had a chance to go to this coffee shop again. While we were enjoying our coffee, a man poorly dressed entered. As he seated himself, he looked at the wall and said, “One cup of coffee from the wall.” The waiter served coffee to this man with the customary respect and dignity. The man had his coffee and left without paying. We were amazed to watch all this, as the waiter took off a piece of paper from the wall and threw it in the trash bin. Now it was no surprise for us – the matter was very clear. The great respect for the needy shown by the inhabitants of this town made our eyes well up in tears.
Ponder upon the need of what this man wanted. He enters the coffee shop without having to lower his self-esteem… he has no need to ask for a free cup of coffee… without asking or knowing about the one who is giving this cup of coffee to him… he only looked at the wall, placed an order for himself, enjoyed his coffee and left.
A truly beautiful thought. Probably the most beautiful wall you may ever see anywhere!
“Love is not patronizing and charity isn’t about pity, it is about love. Charity and love are the same — with charity you give love, so don’t just give money but reach out your hand instead.”
The Michaels family owned a small farm in Canada, just yards away from the North Dakota border. Their land had been the subject of a minor dispute between the United States and Canada for generations. Mrs. Michaels, who had just celebrated her ninetieth birthday, lived on the farm with her son and three grandchildren.
One day, her son came into her room holding a letter.
“I just got some news, Mom,” he said. “The government has come to an agreement with the people in Washington. They’ve decided that our land is really part of the United States. We have the right to approve or disapprove of the agreement. What do you think?”
“What do I think?” his mother said. “Jump at it! Call them right now and tell them we accept! I don’t think I could stand another one of those Canadian winters!”
HOW WOULD YOU MAKE A MARRIAGE WORK?
Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a truck.
Ricky, age 10
The other day my grandson asked me how I felt about being old. I was taken aback, for I do not think of myself as old. Old age, I decided, is a gift. I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I’ve aged, I’ve become my own friend.
I am entitled to overeat, to be messy, to be extravagant. I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging. I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 50’s, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love, I will.
I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten, and I eventually remember the important things.
I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turn gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. I care less about what other people think. I don’t question myself anymore. I’ve even earned the right to be wrong.
So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be.
Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes.
Nine year old Joey was asked by his mother what he had learned at Sunday school.
“Well, Mom, our teacher told us how God sent Moses behind enemy lines on a rescue mission to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. “When he got to the Red Sea, he had his engineers build a pontoon bridge and all the people walked across safely. “Then he used his walkie-talkie to radio headquarters for reinforcements. They sent bombers to blow up the bridge and all the Israelites were saved.”
“Now, Joey, is that really what your teacher taught you?” his mother asked.
“Well, no. But if I told it the way the teacher did, you’d never believe it!”
Be who you are and say what you feel. Because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
Bella was terribly upset. Her fiance, Marvin, had been to a clinical psychologist, and the results were not entirely consoling. She said to her mother, “I’m not sure the marriage would be happy, Ma. The psychologist says Marvin tests out to have a pronounced Oedipus complex.”
Her mother shrugged and said, “Don’t listen to that fancy talk. I’ve watched Marvin, and I tell you he’s all right. Look how he loves his mother.”
“I don’t want to live in the kind of world where we don’t look out for each other. Not just the people that are close to us, but anybody who needs a helping hand. I can’t change the way anybody else thinks, or what they choose to do, but I can do my bit.”
Charles de Lint
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
Management is not responsible for duplicates from previous dailies. The editor is somewhat senile.
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